As Google+ continues to grow, debate rages over whether or not Facebook users should ditch their favored social network andtry out the search giant’s option. There are some who say such a shift makes sense, since Facebook isn’t as adept at delivering a worthwhile social experience any longer. Others say that sticking with Facebook is the way to go, since it’s so big, and that’s where everybody’s friends hang out.
Admittedly, making that decision is personal. And a solid argument can be made for using both social networks simultaneously. But if folks decide to turn their backs on Facebook and only use Google+ as their go-to social network, it wouldn’t be a mistake. After all, there are a host of solid reasons people might decide to ditch Facebook in favor of Google+.
Read on to learn more about why some users are making the jump from Facebook to Google+, and why by doing so, they might find a better social network.
1. Facebook’s privacy troubles
Facebook is no stranger to privacy troubles. Last year, for example, the company came under fire for making too much user data readily available to the public. In response, Facebook unveiled new privacy features last year that simplified the process of keeping personal information away from parties users didn’t want to share it with. The only problem is the social network continues to come under fire from security experts, including Sophos, which said earlier this year that Facebook needs to do more to keep the privacy and security of data paramount in its plans. Although Google doesn’t have the best privacy record either, Facebook’s troubles might be enough to warrant a change to Google+.
2. It’s all about Circles
When Facebook users share content on their page, it’s very difficult to get only certain people to see it. In many cases,all of a person’s friends see content, regardless of whether they want them to or not. But with Google+’s Circles feature, that issue is eliminated. Circles lets users put other folks into certain “groups” and then determine what they want to share with each group. Circles are central to the appeal of Google+.
3. Data Liberation is arguably the best feature
The best feature on Google+ is the service’s Data Liberation. When employing that feature, users can download all their Google content, including photos, profile information and contacts, to their computers. In other words, a user who shares information in Google+ actually owns that content. On Facebook, that just isn’t the case. If ownership matters to users, Google+ is their best bet.
4. Facebook video chat is lame in comparison
Facebook recently announced Skype integration, allowing users to engage in a video chat with a friend. It’s a nice addition. The only problem is, when it comes to video chatting, Google+ reigns supreme, thanks to its Hangouts feature. Hangouts allow users to have a video chat with up to 10 people at the same time at no charge. Plus, friends who happen to see others in a video chat can drop in and join the conversation. Facebook can’t compete on any level with that functionality.
More Than a Social Network
5. It’s more than a social network
One of the best things about Google+ is that the search giant isn’t simply making it a walled garden away from its other products. Google+ allows users to see what sites they’ve given a “+1” rating on, and thanks to a navigation pane at the top, users can quickly jump to Gmail, Google News and other services. Google+ is designed to be more than just a social network. And that’s refreshing.
6. Google is serious about identities
A major issue with other social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, is that the users’ identities are not easily determined. In many cases, people either don’t use their real names or impersonate others. With its social project, Google is forcing users to display only their real-world names. In the long run, that will be a welcome feature as folks find fewer impersonators and more legitimate content.
7. Strong privacy features
Google was smart with Google+. Rather than try to get users to share as much content as possible, the search giant has delivered a host of privacy features to allow users to share only what they’re comfortable with. With the platform’s privacy tool, users can assign their “network visibility,” to determine with whom to share posts and more.Privacy is vastly important when it comes to social networks, and Google seems to understand that.
8. A small, dedicated group of users
A solid argument can be made that Facebook’s 750 million active users should be enough to persuade people to stay put. After all, the majority of an average person’s friends are likely using Facebook and not Google+. However, there is something to be said for Google+’s current user community. For the most part, its users are active, engaged and doing their part to make the environment as rich as possible. On Facebook, that isn’t always the case. For now, Google+ user base is one worth joining.
9. It’s a real news feed
Google+ comes with a nice feature, called Sparks. With it, users can input a topic that they’re interested in and find information related to that. So, if they like movies, they can get film-related news. Those who are into comics can learn more about that. Sparks makes Google+ a full-fledged news feed, thus keeping users in place and making them want to come back for more.
10. Facebook should have a competitor
If nothing else gets a user to switch, perhaps they should think about the competitive landscape in the social space. Right now, Facebook is dominating all other social networks, and the closest alternative, Twitter, is more like a complement than a competitor. ButGoogle+ is a direct competitor with the ability to scare Facebook. And as consumers have seen time and again, a little fear in the marketplace is a good thing for long-term innovation. Simply put, if Google+ and Facebook battle it out, the users will benefit no matter who is winning.